The International Institute for Iranian Studies has issued its Iran Case File (ICF) for October 2020, providing readers in general and researchers in particular with an in-depth analysis and detailed review of Iranian affairs and interactions at variant levels. The file is divided into three main parts: Internal Affairs, Arab Affairs and International Affairs.
At the political level, the file sheds light on the direct threat which Iran has not faced since 2001 on its border: the hostile jihadist groups stationed on its borders due to the outbreak of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the protests staged by Iran’s Azeri population pose a domestic threat for Iran, although Iran portrayed itself as a friend to both parties in the conflict.
The other files in relation to Iran were no less dynamic than the Political File. At the ideological level, the interaction between the religious seminaries in Najaf and Qom poses a threat to Iraqi-Iranian relations insomuch as it is one of the reasons for strengthening ties between the two countries. Araki, one of Qom’s marjas, attacked the Najaf marja Kamal al-Haydari over his interpretation of Shiite jurisprudential heritage in relation to declaring people from non-Shiite sects to be disbelievers.
At the economic level, the file discusses the findings of a report conducted by the Iranian Parliament’s Research Center about the surge in the country’s debt to GDP ratio. This crisis has existed throughout the period of sanctions and the government has faced ongoing budget deficits.
At the level of Arab affairs, the file reveals Iran’s continuous attempts to perpetuate the control of its militias over the Iraqi scene while the Iraqi government is undertaking concerted efforts to resolve the structural problems which weaken the strength of the Iraqi state and prevent Baghdad from establishing sovereignty over its territories. But in Yemen, Iran failed to present a valid excuse for its ongoing support for the Houthi militia. Iran’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions and international law are unambiguous. In addition to these violations, Iran has plainly announced that it provides the Houthis with weapons and the technology to manufacture weapons. This coincided with the arrival of Hassan Erlo, an IRGC commander, in Sana’a under the guise of an ambassador.
At the international level, the file reviews Iran’s role in the US 2020 election campaign while Trump continues to impose sanctions on Iran. Iran does not possess any new cards as it has already undertaken the five steps to reduce its nuclear commitments. The only card it has left is its desire to drive US troops out from the region. The Russia-Iran relations file was much more dynamic because of the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. The deployment of Russian forces along the lines of contact caused Russia to be an immediate neighbor of Iran, which Tehran has not experienced since the collapse of the Soviet Union.